Dialogue, Protection and New American Bishop

Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines the week of September 30th, 2016

  • Catholics and Orthodox seek consensus over synodality document
  • Muslims have moral obligation to protect Christian presence in the Middle East, says Patriarch Theophilos III
  • Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Serbian Eastern American Diocese
  • Orthodox presence at Boy Scout Washjam 2016

Catholics and Orthodox seek consensus over synodality document

First Up, Catholic and Orthodox theologians met in the Italian town of Chieti for the 14th plenary session of their international dialogue commission.

The meeting which began on September 15th ended on the 22nd, bringing together two representatives from each of the fourteen Orthodox Churches, alongside 28 Catholic participants, under the shared presidency of Cardinal Kurt Koch from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Archbishop Job of Telmessos from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The meeting focused on a draft document entitled, “Towards a common understanding of Synodality and Primacy in service to the Unity of the Church”.

The issue of synodality and primacy is “one of the most delicate questions” in the relationship between Catholics and Orthodox.

Speaking of the encounter in Cuba last February between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Mgr Palmieri said all such meetings and exchanges between Church leaders provide a positive context within which theologians can advance their dialogue.

He also pointed to the historic encounter last April between Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus.

The theological dialogues, he stressed, are not simply academic discussions, separated from the life of the Church but rather they are concerned with the very heart of the Church’s life.

The themes of synodality and primacy, he said, are at the center of attention right now. Discussing these themes, he said, means thinking together about ways in which a reconciled Church can better serve the mission of the Church to bring the Gospel to all people.

Muslims have moral obligation to protect Christian presence in theMiddle East

And next up, while Christian leaders hold an important role in protecting Christian presence in the Middle East, Orthodox Church Patriarch Theophilos III said Muslims also hold this moral obligation.

In an exclusive interview with The Jordan Times, Patriarch Theophilos said it is high time for Christian leaders in the Middle East to realize their responsibility and obligation to encourage Christian presence in the region. He urged the spiritual heads to unite in encouraging the remaining Christians to stay in their homelands, especially at a time when migration and forced displacement are threatening to erase Christianity in the area.

“We, the Christian leaders who have been living here must join forces and raise our voices in order to mobilize the world opinion to support and second our efforts for protecting the Christians of the Middle East in order to encourage them to remain in their homelands,” said Patriarch Theophilos III.

Moreover, he continued, Muslims in the Middle East should also help maintain the Christian presence in the region. The Orthodox leader urged the Muslims to join in their efforts to do so.

Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Irinej

And next up, His Grace Bishop Irinej will be enthroned as Bishop of the Serbian Eastern American Diocese on Saturday, October 1, at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Taking his place as the fifth Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America, he will be delivering his first arch-pastoral message to his new flock.

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia are expected to be present.

Following the services, a short reception will take place at the Cathedral; everyone is welcome.

The celebration will then continue at the Carnegie Art Museum Music Hall Foyer and Balcony in the Oakland cultural center of Pittsburgh, with a banquet and program honoring the new Bishop.

Special Guest Performers include “Talija” Folk Ensemble of Serbia and Mr. Dimitrie Lazich, operatic baritone.

Orthodox presence at Boy Scout Washjam 2016

And Lastly, Orthodox Scouting at Regional Boy Scout Jamboree, “Washjam2016” brought together Scouts and adult leaders from the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, plus the Canadian Province of British Columbia.

“Washjam” is the regional version of the national jamboree held by the Boy Scouts of America and took place in Washington State the end of August.

The event is organized to give participants a taste of what the national jamboree is like; while meeting new friends and learning what scouting is like in other regions all while camping with over 4000 scouts. This year’s event featured different themed activity areas where scouts traveled through ‘Lands’ of WashJam such as the Technology Challenge, Land of Adventure, Cub Scout Adventure World, the Land of Advancement and Survival Challenge, Aquatics Challenge; just to name a few.

Participants also learned about the different types of awards available to them including religious awards.

Manning the display for the Orthodox Christian church were Fr. Michael Johnson, Pacific Northwest outreach coordinator for the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting – EOCS plus Scout Commissioner John Prekeges and Eagle Scout Chris Macris.

The display featured an icon of St. Alexy, crown prince of Russia. In 1909 Alexy became the world’s first Orthodox Christian Scout. As far as it is known, Alexy is the only Boy Scout of any faith to become a saint. The young prince was only 13-years-old when he and his entire family were put to death by their Communist captors who were determined to destroy not only religious freedom, but religion itself. Although in the past, more faiths were present with displays, the Orthodox Church was the only one along with the Mormon Church. Under the circumstances, Fr. Michael provided information on religious awards intended for youth of any faith who visited their display.

Many of the visiting parents thoroughly appreciated this ecumenical gesture by the oldest of Christian Churches. While there are certainly important differences between Orthodox Christianity and other faiths, there is broad agreement on one important truth, that religion is vitally important in the proper development of any growing child.

The Children’s Word

And from OCN, are you looking for ways to provide your children with Orthodox centered activities? The Childrens Word is a weekly Sunday bulletin created for Orthodox Christian young people that includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find lesson centered activities and a coloring page that can be downloaded and printed.

Whether you’re a parent, Sunday school teacher or youth volunteer, log on to myocn.net and find various Orthodox Christian materials that will support you and your family in your daily faith walk. Click on the “Children’s Word” found under the Read tab.

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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. Wishing you a Blessed Week, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.

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Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy,…
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